British show jumper Tim Stockdale has died aged 54, just weeks after revealing he had been diagnosed with stomach cancer.
He passed away peacefully in Northamptonshire today (November 14th), with wife Laura and sons Joe and Mark at his bedside.
Veteran of 50 Nations Cups, his career highlights included winning the King George VI Gold Cup with Fresh Direct Kalico Bay in 2010, and finishing 16th and best of the British with Fresh Direct Corlato at the 2008 Olympic Games. He was also a member of the 2002 WEG and 2009 European Championship teams.
Accomplished and versatile, Stockdale will leave a huge hole in the UK sport. He was also actively involved in the administration and marketing of national jumping, a sought-after trainer, and well-known media figure through his extensive work on mainstream TV and his after-dinner speaking.
He was also never afraid of confrontation when he felt issues were being handled incorrectly – last summer Stockdale resigned from the international committee of British Showjumping (BS) in protest at the controversial decision not to send a team to the European championships.
Among other initiatives while on the board of BS, Stockdale drove an important county show series which remains the UK stepping stone into international competition, the International Stairway.
He was awarded the British Equestrian Federation medal of honour in 2010 for outstanding services to equestrianism, which same year he acted as chef d’equipe for the winning British team in Abu Dhabi.
Stockdale was still competing this fall, winning with new top string Miss Fritz in Macon Chaintre, France. He revealed his illness on Facebook early in October, explaining that his sudden weight loss had originally been thought to result from stomach ulcers.
Stockdale’s long-time owner and friend Les Harris is chairman of BS and said today: “Stockdale was an incredible man and there would be very few who could hold a light to him. My thoughts are now with his wife Laura and their sons Joseph and Mark whom we will be doing our utmost to support following their loss.”
Stockdale, who has an identical twin, Ivan, was born into a non-equestrian family, but soon caught eye as a member of the Pony Club. He told his story from humble beginnings in his 2012 autobiography There’s No Such Word as Can’t.